Although you might not think of horror when you think of Disney cartoons, this venerable animation studio has nevertheless produced some of the most frightening and chilling cartoons you are likely to see. Ranging from simple black and white cartoons to more lavish color productions, Disney has almost cornered the market when it comes to Halloween cartoons.
If ever there was a frightening Disney short, this one would certainly be it. The cartoon follows the adventures of Donald and his nephews as they try to evade the murderous antics of an escaped gorilla. The gorilla itself is certainly frightening in and of itself, but the cartoon also excels at building up suspense and, by the end of the film, we're glad Donald and his nephews have gotten the better of the beast.
Although one of Disney's oldest cartoons, "The Skeleton Dance" nevertheless also manages to be one of the creepiest as it follows a group of human skeletons in a graveyard as they both dance and make music with various parts of their skeletal bodies. There is something very chilling about the nonchalance with which they use their bodies in this particular way and, while some might find the animation somewhat cheesy, I would argue it is precisely the simplicity of the animation that makes this Disney Halloween cartoon so chilling.
Finally we come to this film, which tells the story of Ichabod Crane as he struggles against the villainous Headless Horseman. With its delightful blend of traditional Disney animation and the lively musical numbers (as well as narration by the famous Bing Crosby), the film manages to combine the whimsical with the downright frightening.
Even though we ultimately learn that the Headless Horseman was merely a trick by one of the brutish townspeople, the scene in which the ghoul is chasing the hapless Ichabod stands as one of the most frightening and intense of all Disney animated scenes.
Clearly Disney has been able to excel at making not just whimsical fairy tale cartoons but also cartoons that have a darker, more sinister edge. If you're looking for Halloween fun that still manages to be family-friendly, then look up these cartoons, which you should be able to find fairly easily available on DVD.
Heading to the movies? Get an instant mobile coupon to use at select theaters for free popcorn!